Next week I will be attending the annual convention for the National Speakers Association. It’s a natural human tendency to compare ourselves to others, especially people in the same field as us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it leads us to discover areas to improve. But when it shifts into envy or jealousy, that’s a problem. I am already bracing myself for the “must be nice” game. In the speaker world, it goes like this:
Of course he gets booked all the time, he’s a former NBA player. Must be nice.
She’s got so many connections from working all those years in the corporate world. Must be nice.
I wish could juggle fire and do backflips like that. Must be nice.
I fall into it myself. I spend too much time noticing all the things I’m not, that I miss the things I am. One theme that drove itself home for me during last year’s convention was my talent as an artist. It’s one of the things I’m really good at, and it’s a skill that very few speakers possess. And yet, although I do incorporate my artistic gifts into my speaking programs and offerings, it’s almost as an afterthought. I have not made it a cornerstone to who I am and what I do, at least to the extent that I probably should.
This small revelation of mine might be patently obvious to you, as it is to many speaker friends that I’ve shared it with. Interestingly, our greatest gifts are often the ones we overlook the most, because we tend to undervalue the things that come easy to us.
And yet, were I to devote the time and attention to making my art an integral part of my unique selling proposition, there would inevitably be those who’d observe me from afar and say, “Of course he’s a successful speaker. Being a great artist is an killer hook and he can make his PowerPoint slides look amazing. Must be nice.”
I have a wife who shares my passion for fighting Adultitis and is very good at communicating with clients and managing travel details. She books all my gigs and all my travel. I’m pretty sure other speakers hate me for that. Must be nice, huh?
Now, the “must be nice” game is not exclusive to the speaking world. In your world, it might look like this:
Of course she is the top performer; she has a ton of contacts. Must be nice.
Everybody likes him because he is a natural born comedian. Must be nice.
She’s tall and athletic and got a free ride to college because she’s a great volleyball player. Must be nice.
He is able to afford a house like that because he’s a carpenter and can do all the labor himself. Must be nice.
Of course they get to travel all the time; they don’t have any kids. Must be nice.
He gets straight A’s and he doesn’t even have to study. Must be nice.
She has all the time in the world to be involved in her kids’ activities; her husband has a great job and she doesn’t have to work. Must be nice.
The “must be nice” we tack on at the end is our backhanded way of voicing our envy and making excuses for ourselves. It’s also a cop-out and a tragic waste of time. Everyone has unique gifts and circumstances and experiences that they can leverage and benefit from.
We all have a “must be nice.” Your job is to quit wishing for someone else’s, figure out what yours is, and make the most of it.
What’s your “must be nice?”